Summit History ’64-’72

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So we’re entering the stretch run of second grade…and with the start of the year, 1966, there’s the threat that the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad will end commuter service because it is losing $9 million a year on that end of the business, while the freight carrying side is highly profitable.

Otherwise, not a lot of news during this period. The first big snowfall of the season didn’t come until Sat., Jan. 22…7 inches…but then this was followed by another storm the following Sat., Jan. 29, of 11 inches. So the two storms cost the city $16,000 to clean up.

Frederick Kuch was retiring after 48 years at Bell Labs, which means he started, in his case, at Western Electric in 1918. Boy, he saw some changes over that time.

Movie goers were eagerly awaiting the appearance of “Thunderball” at The Strand, but it was held over six weeks in Morristown and it seems they had first dibs. Instead we had “The Great Race” and “Darling,” the latter with Julie Christie….not that us second-graders went to see it. “Kiss Me, Kate” was the annual G.O. show at the high school.

On the hardwood, the SHS basketball team was in the midst of a solid season, 12-3 (7-3 in conference) by mid-February. The main contributors were Don Willey, Lamont Johnson, Pete Moroney, Ray Tait, and Meilli Steele.

But 2 of the 3 losses were to Chatham, and they were classic contests. The first went to triple overtime before Chatham hit a 50-footer at the buzzer for the 45-43 win. The second game went two overtimes, with Chatham pulling it out 72-69. The star for Chatham in the second game was Al Twaits, who had a career high 32 points. I just had to mention the guy because he was also the quarterback who led Chatham over Summit, 21-20, the previous Thanksgiving Day. Ergo, Al Twaits was big man on campus and probably had no trouble getting a date.

Price check…14-oz. bottle of Heinz Ketchup, just 19 cents at Kings! One-pound can of Colombian coffee only 69 cents.

The school budget was approved, including a $5,500 minimum starting salary for teachers ($9,150, max).

And I saw a blurb about a man who would later become quite a famous figure with a Summit pedigree…Mark Donohue. In January 1966, Donohue, who grew up in Summit (attended Pingry) and whose parents lived on Valley View Drive, finished 3rd in the 24 hours of Daytona auto race, his first time there. Donohue went on to work his way up and would win the 1972 Indy 500. Sadly, he was killed in 1975 while practicing for the Austrian Grand Prix and some of us went to his funeral at St. Teresa’s, where the giants of the racing world gathered. He’s buried in St. Teresa’s cemetery.

Next installment, Sept. 9.


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